Lifestyle

How to Break 10 Boston Blue Laws in 1 Hour

Published On 05/26/2015 Published On 05/26/2015
Erik Christensen/Thrillist

Boston and the Commonwealth are seriously old-­timey, and the ghosts of Puritan lawmakers past still haunt us today. How or why these inane decrees remain in the books is anybody’s guess. From menacing birds, to the act of love-making, here are 10 surprising laws you’ve probably broken. Since breakfast.

Erik Christensen/Thrillist

Pouring salt on the street

Boston City Ordinance 16-2.5 "Sprinkling Ashes, Etc., on Streets; Removal of Manure" defines craziness: "No person shall, except in accordance with a permit from the Commissioner of Public Works, or as provided in subsection 16­-2.16, sprinkle, scatter, put, or place any ashes, cinders, earth, dirt, gravel, sawdust, salt, or mixture of salt, in or upon a street, or without such permit remove any manure or dirt from any street." So. Many. Questions. Especially about manure.

Erik Christensen/Thrillist

Messing with pigeons

Clearly the author of this law had something for pigeons, and clearly the author had never been dive­-bombed while lunching in Post Office Square. Bird crap on your sub is a completely justifiable reason to go after these rats with wings. But you can’t, unless you want a $20 fine or a month of jail time. (Might still be worth it.)

Erik Christensen/Thrillist

Going Gronk in the middle of the street

City Ordinance 16-­12.15, aka "The Anti­Fun Ordinance," prohibits playing ball in the street. No ordinance against walking around Boston shirtless after winning a championship though.

Erik Christensen/Thrillist

Singing only part of the national anthem in public

In the Commonwealth, once you start crooning the "Star Spangled Banner" in public you must commit to the whole thing. We’re not sure who’s monitoring this, but if you "stop short" the ticket might cost you $100... and it’s probably contingent on your singing ability or lack thereof (looking at you, Vince Neal.) Also, you can’t use the anthem in dance music, because it’s like soooo danceable.

Erik Christensen/Thrillist

Blaspheming, as in old school blaspheming

Hearkening back to the days when people really blasphemed, it’s still against the law to contumeliously (!?) reproach, deny, curse, ridicule, etc., pretty much everything contained within the Bible. Good thing we’ve let this one slide, because you'd probably land in the slammer after every Celtics game.

Erik Christensen/Thrilist

Swearing in Fenway or TD Garden if you’re over 16

Speaking of cursing, apparently once you turn 16 you can’t direct "any profane, obscene, or impure language" at a participant or official in a sporting event. Whoever wrote this was not familiar with the concept of sports.

Erik Christensen/Thrillist

Acting like a d-­bag on the T

This one’s a doozy. Tons of people should be locked away for merely getting on the T. Anyone who disturbs or annoys travelers with bad language or indecent behavior is breaking the law. That would make criminals out of "Blaring Music Guy," "Incredibly Loud/Gross Personal talker," "Giant Backpack Dude" and all of these awful people.

Erik Christensen/Thrillist

Fornicating anywhere at any time

Naughty time with your bf of gf (or whatever you’re not calling it) is punishable by 3 months or $30. By definition, "fornication" is sex between two unmarried people. So threesomes are ok?

Erik Christensen/Thrillist

Playing Candy Crush in Quincy Market

Or any game, for that matter. We have markets, and there are market laws, people. Basically, if you take 16­-10.4 at face value, even rocking some Candy Crush while your out-­of-­towners slurp chowdah in the rotunda is considered disorderly conduct. Then again, they didn’t see you decimate Peppermint Palace. Booyah!

Erik Christensen/Thrillist

Sleeping at Faneuil Hall

Same ordinance, same weird market laws. Lying down or sleeping near the "Hall that Faneuil Built" leads straight to Johnny Law’s bad side. However, attempting to catch some z’s in the midst of noisy street performers and noisier tourists is logistically impossible anyway.

Sign up here for our daily Boston email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun the Hub has to offer.

Clickbait

close

Learn More